This article has been just updated: February 28th, 2020
Everyone is always talking about technological advancements and science constantly speeding up with each year.
But why don’t we know how dinosaurs went extinct or if there was ever life on Mars? And what about space travel, hoverboards, and flying cars?!
Ok, we’re not there yet, but here are some other Recent Scientific Discoveries that bring us closer to a bright future!
1: Evidence of the Moment Dinosaurs Went Extinct
We all kinda know that dinosaurs met their total extinction when a giant meteorite struck the Earth 66 million years ago. But this information was only a description of the most probable chain of events.
There are tons of other theories, from climate change to a mass dino allergy to flowers! Well, it seems like debates on this subject are finally getting closer to the end. Paleontologist Robert DePalma found a huge slate in North Dakota filled with all kinds
of fossils. It’s basically a picture set in stone of the next moments after an impact with the meteorite that ended the rule of dinosaurs on Earth. This slate has tons of fish fossils, proving that the ocean was devastated by this strike. There’s also a mix of fossils from small mammals that already lived on the surface as well as the fossilized bone fragments of a triceratops! That means that dinosaurs were alive up to that very moment!
2: Mars Once Had Huge Rivers
It was already clear to scientists that Mars used to have a so-called “wet period.” But now a team of researchers led by Dr. Edwin Kite from the University of Chicago provides more evidence for the theory that Mars had multiple wet periods, the last one ending some 1 billion years ago.
While these periods were active, Mars had rivers much wider than those on Earth, and their flow was constant for a span of over 4 billion years. It’s still unclear how that was actually possible with Mars’s thin atmosphere, but now questions are exactly what brings us closer to the truth!
3: New Orca Species Found
No other discovery can become as much of a surprise as when someone discovers a new species, especially when it’s something as big as a whale! Like, how did we miss that all these years?
Well, the ocean is pretty big…Anyway, we now probably have ourselves a completely new orca species. At the moment, they’re called “type D” orcas. They’re pretty similar to their more famous cousins. But they have some distinct features, like a much more rounded head, smaller white eyepatches, and an overall smaller body size.
For now, researchers have taken skin samples from them and are waiting for the results of a DNA test. If this type D orca is a completely new whale, this discovery would be a real sensation!
4: Coral Transplantation to Save the Ocean And here’s more good news from the oceanic world.
But first, it’s important to understand just how crucial coral reefs are. They’re the living heart of the ocean, and without them, the whole marine ecosystem wouldn’t exist. And even though they seem strong like living stones, they’re actually very sensitive to their environment.
In the last 20 years, a lot of Earth’s coral reefs have been severely damaged, and over 25% of them are gone. The problem is that it’d take centuries for those reefs to grow back naturally, and they just won’t do it because the conditions aren’t right. Luckily, Dr. David Vaughan found a way to rebuild our planet’s coral reefs, and he pretty much made the discovery by mistake! One day, Dr. Vaughan accidentally broke one of the corals he was studying and left the piece that fell off in a tank of water.
It appeared that this piece alone survived and began to grow much faster. Since then, Dr. Vaughan has been experimenting with this “micro fragmenting” technique of coral growth and achieved immense success!
In fact, his little patches of coral grow 25 times faster than corals normally do! With this advanced method, it’s possible to transplant these corals to their natural relatives and watch those reefs live again!
5: New Way to Prevent Global Warming
If there’s one real reason to strive for scientific and technological breakthroughs, it’s gotta be the question of how to stop global warming.
This is the greatest threat to life on this planet, and guess what? That includes us humans! From 100 billion to 1 trillion tons – this is how much carbon dioxide scientists say we need to take away from the atmosphere by the year 2050 to prevent catastrophic climate change.
Sounds scary, I know, but researchers from the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology may have the means to do just that. Phew, that’s music to my ears!
Their method is based on using hot liquid metal and liquid electrolyte to catch carbon dioxide from the air and turn it into solid carbon flakes. The resulting solid carbon can not only be buried but also used as an energy source. Sounds like a win-win!
But this method still needs further development. Let’s hope it’ll be ready in time!
6: Type One Diabetes Treatment
In the past few years, we’ve already had some of the greatest breakthroughs in cancer and HIV treatment, and the news regarding those diseases hit the world by storm. But here comes another one that really deserves some praise too!
There’s a great probability that the medical community will find a way to deal with Type One diabetes in the near future. You see, this type has always had doctor stumped, and it was almost universally admitted to be totally incurable. But the good people from City of Hope, one of the leading medical centers in the US, don’t think so!
The promising research program called The Wanek Family Project aims to find a cure for this disease in the next 6 years. They’ve already made huge progress. One year ago, everyone thought that Type One diabetes is an autoimmune disease, which means
that it provokes a person’s immune system to attack otherwise healthy cells in the pancreas. Those cells produce insulin, a lack of which is basically what diabetes is.
The project’s director Dr. Bart Roep turned that conventional idea upside down with his study, which found that those pancreatic cells aren’t being destroyed because of an immune system malfunction – it’s because of the cells themselves.
You see, they produce a false distress signal, and the immune system just does its job right: attacks on demand. But this discovery is just a start, albeit a really good one!
The scientists from the City of Hope have all kinds of ideas in mind as to how they can cure this problem, from cell transplantation to growing these cells from scratch.
7: MRI in 70 Seconds
Another great advancement was made on the verge between medicine and programming. Now, if you’ve ever had an MRI scan, you know that it can be terrifying. Once you’re in that big scary machine, you’re in it for a long time in complete darkness with strange sounds and constant reminders that you shouldn’t move at all.
With this process taking sometimes over an hour, it’s even tough for those with strong nerves. As for people with severe claustrophobia, in many cases they even need anesthesia to bear an MRI scanning. But we now have 5,000 lines of code that will save so much time and effort in diagnostics!
A team of researchers led by Stefen Skare and Tim Sprenger from the Karolinska Institute in Sweden came up with the idea of mixing MRI tests with the technology used in much quicker scanning called Echo-Planar Imaging or EPI. The results are close enough to traditional MRI scans to be a good foundation for diagnostics.
Recent tests of this method showed that multiple patients can be scanned in the same amount of time a standard MRI machine can do just one person.
I’m sure their work will help save many lives and make doctors’ jobs a lot easier and more efficient! And what discoveries interest you the most?
Dinosaurs, space, medicine, technology?
Let me know down in the comments! And don’t forget to give this video a like, share it with your friends, and click subscribe to always stay on the Bright Side of life!